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Comparison of ultrasonographic characteristics of the thyroid gland in healthy small-, medium-, and large-breed dogs

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  • 1 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 2 Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 3 Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 4 Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 5 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 6 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

Abstract

Objective—To determine ultrasonographic characteristics of the thyroid gland in healthy small-, medium-, and large-breed dogs and evaluate the relationships of thyroid gland size and volume with body weight and body surface area (BSA).

Animals—72 dogs of small (6 Toy and 6 Miniature Poodles), medium (12 Beagles), and large breeds (12 Akitas and 36 Golden Retrievers).

Procedure—Each dog's thyroid gland was examined ultrasonographically with a 10- to 5-MHz multifrequency linear-array transducer. Size, shape, echogenicity, and homogeneity of thyroid lobes were evaluated on longitudinal and transverse images. Thyroid lobe volume was estimated by use of the equation for an ellipsoid (π/6 [length × height × width]).

Results—Thyroid lobes appeared fusiform or elliptical on longitudinal images and triangular or round to oval on transverse images. In most dogs, thyroid lobes were hyperechoic or isoechoic, compared with surrounding musculature, and had a homogeneous echogenic pattern. Mean length, width, height, and volume of thyroid lobes were significantly greater in Akitas and Golden Retrievers, compared with findings in Beagles or Poodles; mean length, width, and height were significantly greater in Beagles, compared with findings in Poodles. Total thyroid gland volume correlated with body weight (r = 0.73) and BSA (r = 0.74).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Among the dog breeds examined ultrasonographically, thyroid lobe size and volume were more variable than shape, echogenicity, and homogeneity. The correlation of thyroid gland volume with BSA suggests that size of the dog, rather than breed, should be considered when assessing thyroid glands ultrasonographically.

Abstract

Objective—To determine ultrasonographic characteristics of the thyroid gland in healthy small-, medium-, and large-breed dogs and evaluate the relationships of thyroid gland size and volume with body weight and body surface area (BSA).

Animals—72 dogs of small (6 Toy and 6 Miniature Poodles), medium (12 Beagles), and large breeds (12 Akitas and 36 Golden Retrievers).

Procedure—Each dog's thyroid gland was examined ultrasonographically with a 10- to 5-MHz multifrequency linear-array transducer. Size, shape, echogenicity, and homogeneity of thyroid lobes were evaluated on longitudinal and transverse images. Thyroid lobe volume was estimated by use of the equation for an ellipsoid (π/6 [length × height × width]).

Results—Thyroid lobes appeared fusiform or elliptical on longitudinal images and triangular or round to oval on transverse images. In most dogs, thyroid lobes were hyperechoic or isoechoic, compared with surrounding musculature, and had a homogeneous echogenic pattern. Mean length, width, height, and volume of thyroid lobes were significantly greater in Akitas and Golden Retrievers, compared with findings in Beagles or Poodles; mean length, width, and height were significantly greater in Beagles, compared with findings in Poodles. Total thyroid gland volume correlated with body weight (r = 0.73) and BSA (r = 0.74).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Among the dog breeds examined ultrasonographically, thyroid lobe size and volume were more variable than shape, echogenicity, and homogeneity. The correlation of thyroid gland volume with BSA suggests that size of the dog, rather than breed, should be considered when assessing thyroid glands ultrasonographically.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Brömel.

Dr. Brömel's present address is Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

Dr. Samii's present address is Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

Supported by grants from the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, Raleigh, NC; the Center for Companion Animal Health and the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis; and Ms. Linda Wroth, Richmond, Calif.

Presented in part as abstracts at the 19th Annual Forum of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Denver, May 2001, and at the 12th Annual Congress of the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Munich, Germany, September 2002.

The authors thank Thomas W. Baker and Dr. Cristina L. Torres for technical assistance.